There has been a recent increase in media coverage of sponsorship of e-sports. These are online, virtual events: Virtual Sports, Created Sports and Professional gaming. Examples include Crashed Ice, NASCAR iRacing Series and FIFA Interactive World Cup.
As the ability to produce events for massive online community grows, and the quality of the experience increases, more interesting demographics are available as captive, engaged target audiences for sponsors. And not only are the traditional companies like Coke involved, but increasingly high-tech (Sony) and communications (Samsung) are seeing that this is a focused way to have an authentic impact on the experience.
One big advantage is the depth of knowledge about the participants. The amount of personal data collected from the participants and viewers (often subscription based or PPV) is far higher than can be gathered from a traditional viewing audience. So the equation is lower quantity, but much higher quality.
As technology continues to improve and the array of gaming options expands, this is an arena worth watching. And at what point will a virtual event first surpass an actual, real-life event? Stay tuned…
Synergy does a good job of outlining some of the standards here… http://www.synergy-sponsorship.com/blog/